Symptoms of herpes are called outbreaks. The first outbreak appears within 2 weeks after you become infected and can last for several weeks. These symptoms might include tingling or sores near the area where the virus has entered the body, such as on the genital or rectal area, on buttocks or thighs, or occasionally on other parts of the body where the virus has entered through broken skin. They also can occur inside the vagina and on the cervix in women, or in the urinary passage of women and men. Small red bumps appear first, develop into small blisters, and then become itchy, painful sores that might develop a crust and will heal without leaving a scar.
Sometimes, there is a crack or raw area or some redness without pain, itching, or tingling.
Other symptoms that may accompany the first (and less often future) outbreak of genital herpes are fever, headache, muscle aches, painful or difficult urination, vaginal discharge, and swollen glands in the groin area.
Often, though, people don't recognize their first or subsequent outbreaks. People who have mild or no symptoms at all may not think they are infected with herpes. They can still transmit the virus to others, however.